RAPID CITY – The glass slipper fit for the Sioux Falls O’Gorman girls.
The No. 7 Knights capped their unprecedented postseason run with a dramatic 53-48 overtime upset of top-seeded Harrisburg on Saturday night at the Rushmore Plaza Civic Center. It was the program’s first state championship under coach Kent Kolsrud and its first overall since 1995.
“I’m just proud of our entire team,” O’Gorman coach Kent Kolsrud said. “We needed everybody to do what they did in order for us to win.”
Harrisburg seized momentum late in the fourth quarter with a steal-and-score from Sami Slaughter that gave it a 42-41 lead with 1:47 remaining.
Undeterred, freshman Emma Ronsiek pulled her team even with a free throw.
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The two sides exchanged empty possessions before a steal by Ashlee Beacom gave O’Gorman the final possession of regulation, but the Knights came up empty and the game went to overtime.
“When we got that fastbreak layup to go up by one, we were like, ‘Alright, here we go,’” Harrisburg coach Nick Mayer said. “But yeah defensively, they did a really nice job on us. Credit to them. They were the better team tonight.”
“We didn’t feel like there was any pressure on us (going into OT),” Kolsrud said. “We just wanted to continue to play, continue to work and, again, make some big plays. They weren’t down at all. We were excited to be in overtime with an opportunity to compete for a state championship.”
Free throws proved to be the difference in the extra session.
O’Gorman hit three of its first four – one from Sebastian Akoi and two from McKenzie Hermanson – to take the first lead of the extra session.
Slaughter had an opportunity to respond for Harrisburg, but she failed to capitalize and O’Gorman took advantage, with Akoi knocking down a jumper that made it a two-possession game.
A Slaughter layup and missed free throw by Beacom granted the Tigers one last reprieve, but Jeniah Ugofsky missed a field goal try on the other end, which allowed O’Gorman to seal the win from the free-throw line.
Akoi led O’Gorman with a game-high 18 points. Ronsiek added 13 and Beacom finished with 11.
As a team, the Knights shot 35 percent from the field and hit 18 of 27 free throws.
“I thought we executed really well on the offensive end and made some huge plays by multiple kids,” Kolsrud said.
For Harrisburg, Slaughter led the way with 15 points and Sydney Halling finished with 13.
Missed free throws plagued the Tigers, who went 6-for-16 from the line and shot 35 percent from the field.
“We really focused on defense and stopping them,” Beacom said. “That was a big part of it.”
“They are so sound defensively,” Harrisburg coach Nick Mayer said. “They fouled us a couple of times, but we just could not make free throws tonight. 6-for-16 is not going to get it done in a state championship game.”
There wasn’t much of a feeling out process to start the game.
O’Gorman played the role of the aggressor initially, building a 17-9 lead after the first quarter.
Offensively, the Knights attacked the basket, poking holes in Harrisburg’s defense as they drove to the cup. They were also able to cash in on Harrisburg’s miscues, turning five turnovers into seven points.
Harrisburg took its turn in the second half, using a 12-2 run to take a 21-19 lead with 3:20 left in the half.
Both teams settled in after that, with O’Gorman taking a 24-22 lead into the locker room.
Beacom, Ronsiek and Akoi all picked up seven of their points in the first 16 minutes for O’Gorman, which hit 8 of 21 shots from the field, but was 3-for-6 from behind the arc and 5-for-6 from the free throw line.
Steffen led Harrisburg with six points, while Slaughter and Halling both added five.
The Tigers committed just one turnover in the second quarter and posted a .381 shooting percentage.
Harrisburg arrived at Saturday’s championship amidst a 23-game win streak.
“Going in, we kind of knew that everyone expected them to win,” Akoi said. “So we took that to our advantage.”
Follow Brian Haenchen on Twitter at @Brian_Haenchen .